Thursday, April 14, 2011

How to Teach High School Math

My friend Sara Bennett of Stop Homework, recently posted this TED talk on FaceBook. It is by high school math teacher, Dan Meyer, who says:

I sell a product to a market that doesn’t want it, but is forced by law to buy it, because I teach high school math.

I could give adults an Algebra 2 exam and would expect about a 25% pass rate.

The way we teach math in the US now insures students won’t retain it.

This is what he sees of students when they enter his classroom:

1. Lack of initiative

2. Lack of perseverance

3. Lack of retention

4. Aversion to word problems

5. Eagerness for formula

Watch the 12 minute video to see how he changes this in his classroom -- he gets to a place with his students where the math serves the conversation, the conversation doesn’t serve the math.

This is his advice for math teachers:

1. Use multimedia

2. Encourage student intuition

3. Ask the shortest question you can

4. Let students build the problem

5. Be less helpful

Math is the vocabulary for your own intuition. Parents, students, teachers must insist on better math curriculum. We need more patient problem solvers.

“The formulation of a problem is often more essential than its solution, which may be merely a matter of mathematical or experimental skill."

– Einstein

Any thoughts?

1 comment:

  1. Hi Kerry,

    I work with, where we just published entitled "10 Great Minds Every Math Student Should Know" Considering this overlap in subject matter with your blog; I thought perhaps you would be interested in sharing the article with your readers? If so, you can find the article here:

    Either way, I hope you continue putting out great content through your blog. It has been a sincere pleasure to read.

    Tina Sans